HP Pavilion dm3-1020ea review: HP Pavilion dm3-1020ea

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The Good Slick looks; impressive build quality; low asking price; good performance.

The Bad Optical drive isn't integrated into the laptop.

The Bottom Line Despite its relatively low price tag, the HP Pavilion dm3-1020ea still manages to effortlessly combine slick looks and great performance with impressive battery life. As a result, it's easy to recommend to those after a stylish ultra-portable laptop

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8.3 Overall

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Priced at around £550, the 13.3-inch Pavilion dm3-1020ea is HP's latest affordable ultra-portable laptop. The company has decided to use AMD's Athlon Neo X2 L335 processor instead of one of Intel's ultra-low-voltage chips, so we were interested to see how the machine would perform both in terms of speed and battery life.

Hello, handsome
The dm3-1020ea is a very handsome machine. Everything screams class, from the brushed aluminium lid and chassis to the chrome trim highlights. It's light too, at just 1.9kg, so it's ideal for those who travel frequently.

Flip open the lid and you'll be greeted by the impressive keyboard. It uses isolated keys much like those found on the latest Apple MacBooks, but, despite the laptop's small size, the layout is superb, with full-size shift and enter keys. The touchpad isn't quite up to the same standard -- it has a glossy finish that feels rather sticky as you slide your finger across it, and it also tends to retain finger smudges. The two trackpad buttons are pleasingly responsive, though.

Although the laptop's screen is quite small and has a pretty ordinary resolution of 1,366x768 pixels, it's still impressive. For example, its wide viewing angle will come in handy if you're watching a movie on a train with a friend and, thanks to its LED backlighting, it looks fantastically bright. Its contrast performance is impressive too and colours look very vivid. It does use a glossy coating, however. That means the screen can prove distractingly reflective if you're using the laptop outdoors or near a window with sunlight streaming through.

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